Sunday, September 2, 2012

Running With Scissors

Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on. ~Bob Newhart

My day pretty much begins the same as most every other day. 

The hustle and bustle of the busy city street which runs past my house slowly comes to life as children playfully jump about on the corner (I.e. make fun of the smallest kid while pummeling him with rocks) as they wait for the school bus. 

It’s a nice little slice of Americana…with the exception of screams and bangs from, what sounds like, violent sexual activity, involving machinery, emanating from the house occupied by a 25-year old woman who lives next door to me.  Meanwhile the dogs, belonging to the neighbor on my left, bark uncontrollably.

It’s sort of reminiscent of the movie, Groundhog Day; only instead of the Sonny and Cher song blaring from the alarm clock, it sounds as though I’m sitting in the middle of a hardcore porno production…which is being filmed inside an animal shelter…or Michael Vick’s backyard.

In retrospect, today was supposed to be a pretty simple day:

                    Give Michelle a lift to work
                    Take a nap

                    Finish editing two pages of a writing project for a friend
                    Watch TV

                    A short conference call with a director of national sales/promotion
                    Watch TV

                    Take a nap
                    Think about writing a book chapter

                    Go watch Jack (Michelle’s 12-year old) at football practice

                    Scrap plans for writing a book chapter
                    Give Michelle a lift home from work

Michelle is like many people…slow to wake.  So, she sets her alarm slightly earlier than she actually needs to be up and at it so as not to be late.  By slightly earlier, I mean that she sets her alarm to go off on the previous Tuesday at 3am so that she might wake up at 6:15am on Wednesday of the following week. (After hitting the snooze button approximately 75 times.)

It was a quiet drive this morning, with the exception of a Lil’ Wayne song roaring at the volume level as that of a military aircraft engine. 

When we finally arrived to Michelle’s place of employment, I was reminded, and slightly envious, of pleasantries that are typically exchanged between average couples at the end of the car pooling experience:

Man: “Love you” (quick kiss)
Woman: “Okay, see ya’ later today”

Man: “Have a nice day sweetie…you think we can have sex later?”
Woman: (Blank stare)

Man: Can I borrow 20-bucks?

Not me and Michelle.  Instead, she exited the car and dropped the following bomb:

“Oh, the kids are outta school today and the sitter can’t make it…can you watch them?

Fully aware that if she’d asked this question three minutes earlier, while I was driving, I would likely have veered the vehicle into oncoming traffic, killing us both instantly.  So, she appropriately waited until she was completely and safely four feet from the vehicle.

Watching the 6 and 12-year old can be slightly challenging in that they have more energy than your average kids**

**Pronounced AD/HD and an apparent crack cocaine addiction

In order to watch Jackson and Lucien, one must possess certain basic skills:

  • Cooking healthy, balanced meals (9 times per day)
  • The ability to do laundry as though one works for housekeeping at the Hilton hotel
  • Washing dishes 30 times per day
  • Calmly answering no fewer than 725-thousand questions
  • A direct and personal contact hot line to the national poison control center
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Haz-Mat first responder certification
  • Emergency field surgical training
  • District attorney cross-examination skills in order to fully and accurately complete an investigation into actions which result in moderate destruction to the entire back quadrant of the house.

Upon pulling into the driveway back at the house, I took a deep breath and prioritized a day which would now include looking after two kids, 3 cats and a dog.  Realizing that this would likely be more than one person could juggle alone, I formulated a solid game plan; I decided to bring our neighbor, Glen, into action.

Aside from a few minor glitches when Glen and I watched the kids on Mardi Gras Day (See archives at the following link):

Glen and I work well together in watching the children.  The word “child endangerment” only came up once during that episode and Michelle finally began talking to me again a week later.  So, I feel that our field trip went fairly well. 

Glen is an animated and energetic individual who works as a fashion industry makeup artist.*

**Translation: He drinks champagne and wine with 79-pound models all day at work, eats very little and says “fabulous” a lot.

I lightly tapped on Glen’s door to enlist his assistance for the day.

Me: Hey, I need your help for a little while today with the kids so I can do a conference call and some writing.
Glen: I thought we weren’t allowed to watch the kids anymore; plus we lost the kids for 30-minutes that day.

Me: No one got hurt and we eventually found the kids…so I think we’re still allowed to watch them.
Glen: I ended up in a first aid tent on Canal Street with a panic attack during Mardi Gras.

Me: Yes, but the fact that the KIDS didn’t end up in the first aid tent means we’re in the clear.  Can you help?

Before opening the front door to my house, I stared Glen down with my best poker face and assured that this should be a piece of cake.

That is, until I actually opened the door, revealing, Scrappy, the dog, tied to a skateboard and the kitchen table by his front and rear leg.  He was also covered, as was the 6-year old, with Michelle's body glitter. 

Pook, the 200-year old cat, lay under the table, all four paws completely tied with brilliantly colored Mardi Gras beads.  It was at this moment where I felt that I was trapped inside of a nightmare from which I could not awake...or a bizarre Lady Gaga music video.
Standing before us was the 6-year old, wearing a wig, his mother’s dress and high heels proudly announcing:

                                                “I’m a GIRL!!”

Me: Shut up.

In the background, I spotted the 12-year old, Jack, who lay, passed out asleep, on the couch with the television blaring an “R-rated” movie and a trail of potato chips scattered across the floor.

I quickly and forcibly grabbed Glen by the shirt as he tried to leave.

First order of business…provide trauma counselling to the animals, then feed the kids and administer AD/HD medication to the youngest child.

As I scrambled to gather my notes for the conference call, Glen prepared a bowl of cereal for Lucien.
I’ve since learned a valuable lesson…communication is key when tending to a 6-year old with AD/HD.  Example:

  • Glen dishes a couple of teaspoons of sugar into the cereal
  • The oldest kid stumbles into the kitchen and also shovels a couple of teaspoons of sugar   onto the cereal
  • Finally, I breeze through and sift sugar into the cereal bowl before serving it.

Behold… the net result…

A child with super-human abilities as that of the Incredible Hulk…only he doesn’t tirelessly right injustices within the confines of a tired and predictable television plot line. 

Instead, he tosses his mother’s entire jewelry collection, a bag of cat food, a bottle of body wash, a package of crackers, all of the bathroom towels and the cat into the kiddie pool in the front yard just before beating his older brother senseless with a plastic sword. 

Keep in mind; he’s still wearing the dress, wig and high heels while my neighbors stare in horror from their front porch.
After grabbing Glen again by the shirt to keep him from leaving, I administered minor first aid to the oldest kid, Jack, as Glen exhausted his best efforts to occupy Lucien by inserting a Sponge Bob DVD into the player. 

As I nervously awaited my conference call, I noticed that the house had fallen eerily quiet.  This is approximately the moment when I spotted Lucien, fully engrossed in the Sponge Bob DVD, sipping from a cup that Glen had left on the end table.

Me: Glen...The kid is drinking your orange juice.
Glen: (Heart stopping gasp) That’s NOT orange juice!

I’m no legal expert, but I feel strongly that accidentally serving a screwdriver to a young child might, in fact, constitute child endangerment in the state of Louisiana.
Needless to say, I was quite upset with Glen’s reckless behavior and I let him know about it…primarily because he was stashing vodka and didn’t make a screwdriver for me.

My favorite time of day while watching the kids is lunchtime.  It’s a period of time where both kids typically settle down, shoving their faces with food while saying “I hate you” a dozen or so times to one another.
I’ve heard stories of sibling rivalries in my lifetime; however, Jack and Lucien take it to a level that even Hollywood screenwriters can’t possibly imagine.  Examples: (And, I’m NOT making this up)

“Stop breathing my air Jackson!
“You’re ugly just like my butt hole.”

“How do you know what your butt hole looks like?  Gross!”

“Stop talking about my butt hole Jackson!”.
"When I get rich, I’m gonna buy an entire country and I’m gonna let everyone
 in the world in it…except for you.

 “Stop laughing at the TV Jackson!”

"Shut up and eat your food punk!"
"Stop looking at my food Jackson or I’m gonna throw it away.”

"Then you won't get to eat punk"

"Don't tell me when to eat JACKson!"

Sadly, the list goes on and on and on and on and on.  To the point where I find myself wishing to fall victim to a drive-by drug related shooting.

After Scrappy the dog devoured the briefly unattended lunch plate, it was finally time for my conference call.  I felt pretty good about the household conference call ambiance, as the kids had finally settled down.  I pleaded with Glen to exert extra precautions in keeping everyone quiet so that I might get through this call without embarrassment. 

Mr. Bentley: As you all know, we’ve stepped up extra promotion and sales efforts in the Mid-south and in the Pacific Northwest.  I’d also like to welcome Jim to our weekly call.  He will be working closely with our promotions office to cover the Deep South.  Welcome Jim…

Me: Thank you.  I’m happy to be a part of…
Lucien: I FARTED!!!

(Awkward silence on the conference call)
Mr. Bentley:  Uh…who was that?

Me: We have a pet McCaw…he sometimes blurts out weird stuff.
Mr. Bentley: (nervous laugh)  Oh, okay.  Anyway, as I was saying…

Lucien: I just saw Mr. Glen’s pee pee.  Mr. Glen has a long pee pee!! (Giggles)
Me: (rapidly disconnecting from the conference call; glaring at Glen as he appeared from upstairs)  WHAT THE HELL GLEN?

Glen: I had to go to the bathroom…he picked the lock and came in while I was finishing!

After dispatching a quick explanation email to the director of national sales, explaining that the house suddenly exploded, resulting in my conference call disconnection, I figured that a quick nap might calm my nerves.

I asked Glen to keep a close eye on the 6-year old and informed him to wake me if anything happened or if he needed assistance.  Translation: "I planned to murder Glen if he even THOUGHT about waking me."

I must admit, I’ve never seen a child completely reconstruct his bedroom…outside on the front lawn.  But, upon waking, there it was, complete with the mattress, lamp, dresser drawers and Scrappy the dog, tied to the flat panel television base.
On the front porch sat Glen, head tilted all the way back, snoring, with Lucien nowhere in sight…that is, until I quickly made my way down the sidewalk around the corner of the house. 

A pizza delivery guy strolled toward me with a stack of pies when I spotted Lucien hanging out of the side door to his SUV.

Delivery Guy: Anyone order a pizza?
I can fully appreciate that someone who has never had children might not convey a sense of concern or urgency where these matters are concerned, but I feel strongly that MY first question would have been:

Hey…do you know WHO the 6-year old hanging out of my car window belongs to??

After smacking Glen in the head with a stuffed animal, I woke him and we began to reconstruct Lucien’s bedroom…safely within the confines of the house.
It was finally time for football practice…the home stretch of the day before I was scheduled to retrieve Michelle from work.

Taking Lucien out later in the day can be hit or miss as his energy level becomes slightly elevated like many small children. 

Nothing out of the ordinary, he simply becomes excited around people and does things which might be a little more than your average adult can effectively manage. 

He runs, jumps, hides things, sprays an entire bottle of expensive perfume onto the cat, rakes a 7-foot shelf into the floor with his arms at the grocery store, destroys the floral department, attempts to jump from a balcony, performs factory unauthorized tests as it pertains to the buoyancy of cell phones in mud puddles and challenges the durability of the neighborhood electric and water department grid by activating every single outdoor faucet and indoor light.

Before heading to Jack's football game, Glen and I grabbed a shoulder bag so that we might visit the convenience store near the park to purchase a few refreshments for our outing...Gatorade, snack crackers, peanuts, bubble gum, vodka, orange juice, cigarettes, Valium and bottled water.

At the checkout, Glen and I placed our items on the counter while we waited for Jackson...who, as usual, dumped a basket onto the checkout totaling the approximate down payment amount for a new BMW.

As we watched the game, Lucien played with the other 6-year olds on the playground within the field fence line as Glen and I chatted with a few parents who sat nearby.

Lady: I think it's awesome for you both to come out and be a part of sports with the kids

Glen: Thanks.  We usually get nervous taking them out together...they have a lot of energy and don't get along very well..

Lady: Well, I think it's fantastic. 

Glen: It's not that big of a deal...we just both need eyes in the back of our heads to watch him.

Lady: Jackson is a good kid not to be worried about what his friends and coaches think.

Glen: What do you mean??

It was at this point when I realized that this lady assumed that Glen and I were a same sex couple.

Football practice went well and Jack, being the newly selected first-string quarterback, loitered on the field, chatting with fellow team mates and the head coach.

We wandered onto the field where we stopped and exchanged pleasantries with the coach and his staff.  Midway through our conversation, the coach suggested that I enroll Lucien in the 6-year old league which was set to begin in a week...that is, until a young woman approached with the following question:

Woman: Is THAT your child over there (pointing to the playground)

Me: Yes...why?

After carefully focusing toward the playground, I noticed Scrappy, the dog, firmly tied to the base of the slide with Mardi Gras beads; bubble gum was plastered through both Lucien's hair and Scrappy's fur.  I nervously laughed and politely excused myself from further football contract negotiations with the head coach.

As an added visual, Lucien was also wearing his mother's hair extensions which he'd smuggled in his pants.

As I scanned a little further to the left, I noticed Glen surreptitiously mixing a screwdriver.  It was decidedly time to leave football practice and go pick up Michelle, capping a day that no one that I know would ever believe.

Upon retrieving Michelle, we caught up on the news of the day, exchanging pleasantries:

Michelle: Ugh...what a day!  I'm soooo glad to be off work.  How was your day?

Me: Nothin' to write home about.  Pretty quiet.

Michelle:  Is that bubble gum in your hair???

A simple day indeed.

copyright, Pontchartrain Press 2012

Author's Note: I like to joke around a lot in order to put a more acceptable face on serious topics...I tend to do so in a manner, unlike my father, who served salmon on the evening that he informed me that my gold fish died when I was age seven. 

Or, for that matter, when the first girlfriend with whom I had sexual relations microwaved a bag of popcorn in 2-minutes at our friend's house and coyly asked if it reminded me of anything.

The truth of the matter is, it's been quite difficult to watch a young child struggle with a psychological situation that a team of therapists can't seem to identify...but they continue to diligently work hard to lead Lucien to a happier and normal place.

I would also be remiss by not admitting that there have been good days and bad days for all who have been involved on this journey.

Lucien is not mentally challenged, quite the opposite actually.  I believe that he's too smart for the physical and mental faculties for a six-year old to handle...much less two unlikely babysitters.   

Words can not begin to describe what it feels like to have a front row seat to witnessing the toll that his situation has taken on the person who gave birth to a beautiful child, only to be told by many specialists (and casual bystanders) that they KNOW something is wrong with her precious boy, but they just can't figure it out. 

It's even more painful to witness the tears after no fewer than ten people give her the dreaded "run-down" on a daily basis as to her child's antics; be it the school bus driver, the teacher, the principal, me, Glen, Jackson, the neighbor or the team of therapists.

Then, I realize that I DON'T have a front row seat...SHE does.  I can't possibly imagine how that must feel for a proud, hard working and loving mother...all of which she is.

At present, Lucien is undergoing competent and careful therapy and I'm optimistic for great success. 

In the meantime, this piece is dedicated to Lu...and to the fact that I do, in fact, last longer in the sexual department than a bag of microwave popcorn!

Please cut me some slack...I was 17 for God's sake!

Lucien and Pook...the ancient cat...just before Hurricane Isaac

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Where The Buffalo Roam

For the first time in years, I did something that has been long absent from my life; since high school actually. 

For the previous two months, I engaged in an age old tradition; a rite of passage, equally anticipated by school age children and adults alike.  Summer vacation!

Modern society adopted the notion of a summer vacation from the ancient Romans.  After engaging in the daily grind for nine months out of the year, the Romans decided that a break was in order; a well earned physical and mental rejuvenation period so that they might relax after doing stressful things such as taking over the world, constructing tourist attractions,  drinking wine, incest, crucifying the son of God and murdering elected leaders.**

**Note: The Romans do not recognize Spring break for obvious reasons.  (See Ides of March)

The tradition of summer vacation can be traced even farther back…to the ancient Mayans. 

Each year, the Mayans would gather up a few dozen live chickens a rolling taco stand and Corona before piling into converted school busses, Honda Preludes and Chevy Impalas and head to Cancun for an uninhibited, alcohol laden beach bash…With the exception of Pedro Sheckman.  Pedro was the rarely seen Jewish-Mayan. 

The Mayans are well known for their incredible predictive powers such as lunar cycles, tidal activity, knowing when the world will end, etc.   So, Pedro predicted Jewish persecution ominously looming in the future…even though it was the year 1413!

Of course, with all of their fortune telling abilities, the Mayans, oddly, did NOT foresee their ultimate eradication by European explorers, which is why I do not place a tremendous amount of stock in their end of the world summations for 12-21-12.**

**Politically Correct Clarification:  For the record, the ancient Mayan’s income tax returns were always perfect…right down to the Peso.  Pedro Sheckman?  Perhaps, but that’s for history to judge.

I began my first day of vacation by sleeping in; which is to say that I slept until the sound of a screaming cat awakened me.  It turns out that Michelle’s 5-year old wondered if the cat might be more comfortable in a zipped suitcase. 

I lay in bed for a few more moments before finally being roused by the sounds of a screaming 5-year old who wore claw marks on his forearm and on the side of his face.  I suppose that he learned first hand that cats do not, in fact, enjoy luggage as much as Paris Hilton.

So far, my first day of vacation was off to a less than desirable start.

Desperately searching for something to pass time, I spent several subsequent days editing a fiction book that I wrote a few years ago, which may be found at:
Feeling a bit incomplete about spending a summer break writing and editing, I decided to completely shelve the computer for the remainder of vacation time to do vacation things.  I did what any adventurous person would do… I decided to donate plasma after seeing an advertisement on the back page of a local newspaper.

Did you know that they pay $40.00 for plasma??  This especially caught my attention.   I’m amazed that I can help to save a life WHILE I earn the exact amount for a bottle of fine Irish whiskey with enough left over to purchase a pack of cigarettes!  Actually, I’m amazed that they accepted my plasma now that I think about it.

When I checked in with the receptionist, I asked if I might be allowed to donate ALL of my plasma for a flat, negotiated fee.  Apparently, that's not how it works.

I was asked to answer a bunch of invasive questions, such as:

“Have you ever had sex for money?"

"Does this photo of Ewan McGregor do anything for you?"

"Have you ever had sex with a man?"

"Have you ever seen the movie Less Than Zero?”

"Have you ever traveled to The Congo, Zambia or Atlanta, Georgia?"

"Have you ever seen a pornographic film featuring sex with a man …which takes place in Zambia?"

"Have you ever thought about having sex with anyone?"

As an important note, I passed the screening with flying colors and was well on my way to earning the “blood money.”

Afterward, the helpful LPN instructed that I should drink plenty of water and have a quick meal.  She also advised that I avoid alcohol for the day.

For the record, it is perfectly okay to consume Taco Bell and alcohol so long as you wait for 20 minutes after donating plasma.  It’s apparently the same rule that applies to swimming

Since the plasma excursion only ate up two hours of my vacation, I accepted an invitation from my friend, who is a landscaper.  He was short on workers and asked if I might assist him with a gardening project for a client.  Subsequently, I caused approximately $2-thousand dollars in damage…long story.

At this point in my, so far failed, vacation itinerary, I figured that summer break might be a good time to catch up on cleaning and maintenance projects around the house.

As a matter of important note, cleaning up after a working mother with a 5 and 12-year old holds the equivalency as that of being trapped inside of an impossible video game.  One of those games where the aggressor pummels the player from every side imaginable until they eventually cry uncontrollably before meeting their demise in a fiery death.

Spending extended amounts of time around the house also provided subtle reminders of certain nuances that I’ve often overlooked throughout the other nine months out of the year.  For instance, I live in a house full of “fast talkers.”  I don’t mean slick, cunning, fast talk…I mean another language which is unknown to man;  My girlfriend,Michelle, and her oldest child being the worst perpetrators.


Michelle: “Adkeojgfkdknfsjkjd  lksjdlksaknfans and then kdsafsandfk…what do you think Jim?”

Me: “Um…”

Jack: “Yeah, that’s dsmfjdfnbcxvbcxnjbj,xzm…you know?”

Me: “um…okay.”

Michelle & Jack: "Hahahahahahaha!!!!!

Me: "um..."

The 5-year old, on the other hand, speaks quite slowly and explicitly…especially when he decides to share his poop activities in minute detail.

Actually, I also have interesting conversations with Jack...when he speaks English.

I completely forgot what it was like to be a 12-year old boy, in that they have the attention span of a death row inmate who is minutes away from being executed.

Me: Don’t forget to take out the trash and clean your room as your mom asked.

Jack: Can we go to the Nike outlet store?

Me: Later.  Did you clean the litter box?

Jack: Check out that Camaro!!

Me: Yeah, it’s cool.  How bout the litter box?

Jack: Is the Nike store open until 7? 

Jack, along with his peers, have been raised in what I like to call the “protective mom” society, in that their parents force them dress appropriately for outdoors time:

Fire-proof race car skull rag

Knee pads

Elbow pads
An English suit of armor

Kevlar vest
Finger pads

Shin guard
A police attack dog


And, a tee-shirt (for cool comfort in the summer heat)

This explains Jack’s visible discomfort when I recently tended to a knee scrape which he’d incurred in a rollerblade mishap.  I administered age old, tried and true field emergency care to ensure that he would make a full and successful recovery.  I poured a half bottle of rubbing alcohol on his knee.

After he came to, I assured him that he did not need crutches. 

Jackson often pries about my childhood, specifically as to how we knew that cuts and scrapes wouldn’t become infected and that we would be alright.  I authoritatively answered: “Because we didn’t die.”**

Note: Except for Jeff Miles.  He had a shellfish allergy that none of us were aware of.

Jack’s mother, on the other hand, tended to the scrape in her own, special motherly way when she returned from work later in the day.  When Jack emerged from the bathroom, he looked like a Mummy…with surfer dude hair.

As a kid, summer vacation represented a time of exploring.  We rode bikes, got hurt and played baseball for 8 hours.  We also shot one another with pellet guns, bottle rockets and slingshots, pushed the fat kid off the creek cliff when he wasn’t looking…and experienced an interesting moment in time which involved Tyler Heflin and Tonya Knott.

While us guys took a break from baseball, Tonya had prepared some lemonade and brownies in her “Easy Bake Oven.”

Tyler, somehow, coerced Tonya into showing us her…um…private spot.

As I was recently informed, Tanya’s private spot is also referred to as the “Easy Bake Oven” these days.

 As an adult, my previous summer vacations meant that I would arrive to the beach bar at 9am, watching sports as my ex-wife spent all of my money on key chains which were etched with every single family member and friend’s name translated to Hawaiian

When I was a kid, summer break meant being shipped off to the country to my grandparent’s house so that my mom and dad could do important things such as work, host parties, have sex without locking the bedroom door, allow the grass to grow to approximately 5-feet in length so that I could mow it upon my return and save about 10-thousand dollars on groceries.

As I recall, my uncle, cousin and grandpa availed themselves to my services** when I visited the country each summer (**Pronounced: Slave Labor.)

They would put me to work doing, what they referred to as, character building exercises…such as, splitting logs for 9-hours, feeding livestock, being bitten by snakes, falling from horses, digging potatoes, rebuilding tractor engines and slaughtering a cow. 

My lawyer friend suggests that the above activities constitute child abuse but, since they’re all dead, I can’t bring formal charges against them.

My other uncle was much more fun to hang out with as he’d take me to concerts at the state fair.  At least I thought it was fun, until I reached my senior year in High school.

As a 17-year old sitting around the mall parking lot talking with the guys about first cool concerts there’s something decidedly NOT cool about informing them that one’s first concert memories are those of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

As I slowly emerge from summer break, I fondly reminisce about summer breaks of long ago, one of which is located in a tiny spot just past the middle of nowhere.  A beautiful, pristine and unspoiled countryside with rolling fields as far as the eye can see.  It’s a blip on the map in Tennessee where my mother was raised.

I often wonder how exciting it would be to grow up in an environment which is surrounded by scenery that one can only imagine or view in a movie.  An environment where families raise their own food, sit on the front porch and visit with family and friends at the end of the day-- never seeing an automobile for days. 

Her's was a setting where bald eagles soar high above, water was drawn from a spring house, mountain lions routinely snatched the occasional runt puppy or small child while an area prison chain gang dug holes in a nearby field.  It must have been heaven on earth.

I fondly shared my childhood memories with young Jack about the land where my mom and her family before her settled and that it’s now a federally protected wildlife sanctuary.

Down a winding gravel road, there’s even a national buffalo sanctuary where adventurous tourists might come and briefly understand how things used to be before the age of skyscrapers, smog, traffic jams, Charlie Sheen, urban blight and American Idol.

After a few moments of awkward silence, I sensed that Jack found himself less than engaged in my stroll down memory lane.  So, I fumbled over my words, trying to enhance the story for a modern-day young man. 

I explained that the buffalo range no longer exists due to the fact that a young woman sneezed in close proximity to the fence line, causing a massive stampede which resulted in her and three other tourist’s tragic death.

 Jack: “Cool!!!  Hey, do you think Academy Sports might have a better selection than the Nike Outlet store??"


Copyright, Pontchartrain Press 2012
Two children with thousands of questions.  They'll make excellent lawyers one day.  Meet Lucien and Jack

Sunday, May 20, 2012

There Goes The Neighborhood

As Jim continues his summer vacation, we invite you to check out a book project which is in editing.  By editing we, of course, mean we are deleting massive amounts of run-on sentences.

Nonetheless, we've begun streaming it on a sister site located at :

Jim is also available to present the book, at your convenience, via interpretative dance for a small fee. 

In the meantime, below, you will find a much anticipated debut guest submission from a comedy writer and friend to Jim.  He resides in our nation's cradle of history; Philadelphia...also known as "The city of brotherly love,"  and sporting event riots.

Just when I thought we'd found someone who understands deadlines and content principles, it became painfully evident that we've enlisted the services of Jim's long lost brother.

At any rate, try to enjoy the latest (rated R) piece from Pontchartrain Press


Mike, Editor

Via AT & T Text:

Jim: Mike just texted me about your deadline.  Many people think that I'm kidding when I say that texts from Mike typically make me cry uncontrollably; I gave him your number so that I might enjoy a small portion of my vacation.  Hows the first column draft going? it bad that im watching an infomercial about a push up bra AND feeling physically aroused?

Eric: It could be worse. I was just eyeing a German dvd we got at my porn shop called "Sh*t Eating Lesbians."  Oh, and a homeless guy just walked in & smelled like an extra from said German film, thus killing my erection.

Jim: I can honestly say that I have never received a text such as the one you just sent.  If it's okay with you, I'm just going to pretend that it didn't happen.  Now that I think about it, I'm somewhat disturbed that you were aroused by the dvd.  On the topic of lesbians...For some reason they hate matter how hard I try to endear myself to them.

Eric: What do you say or do to endear yourself?

Jim: I ask if I can watch...but I always make sure that they know that I will remain at least 5 feet from them at all times.  If that doesn't work I simply, and respectfully, do not push the issue.  This is the point where I ask "who would you do", Hillary Clinton or Condoleeza Rice?" 

Eric: You are smooth talker. 

Jim: Thank you.

Eric: For the record, I would "do" Condoleeza...

Jim: The fact that lesbians hate me is I'm a big fan of lesbians. Specifically the college student who lives on my block. I must say that I draw the line at doo doo sex play as noted in the pornographic dvd in your video store.  I just couldn't do it...unless its with the right person of course.  Did George Lucas direct it?  I hope so. 

Eric: Fear not. There are 2 types of lesbians. Attractive ones who just do it for attention & eventually give up on their experimental lifestyle, and then ones who look like that guy on the Brawny paper towel cover. So, you'll either eventually have your long awaited chance if you patiently bide your time, or it won't matter.  Either way, you're a winner. 

Jim: Out of curiosity...does your store have a "sexcrement" aisle?

Eric: The Internet, coupled with a struggling economy, has forced us to downsize. As a result, we can't segregate films the way we once did.  We now have only 4 sections:

Gay, straight, lesbian & tranny.

The straight section has 3 sub-sections:

Black, white & Asian.

Speaking of lesbians, I'm getting hungry. I think I'll order some sushi.

Jim: Wow!  Your store sounds lame.  BTW...I was unaware that there were so many sub sections in a porno store. It should come as no surprise that I often wonder what it might be like to spend a day in your shoes. My day is nowhere nearly as interesting as yours. Sadly, I just ate a bowl of Fruit Loops and now I'm watching Judge Mathis...I wonder where my life went wrong?

Eric: I've pin pointed exactly where my life went wrong.

Jim: Do tell...

Eric: A girl I once dated left me for a woman.

Jim: Great...another woman who hates me, I suspect.  BTW, how would that be a tipping point where your life went wrong??  She simply made a personal lifestyle choice.

Eric: She ended up hooking up with another of my ex girlfriends.

Jim: I honestly have no words. 

Jim: u think those bailiffs on the tv court shows are real? What if some serious sh*t breaks out after the verdict is delivered and the two parties pull out guns...What's the TV bailiff gonna do,  sign an autograph?

Jim: I'll be honest with you, I want that f**k*ng job.

Jim: Just once, Id like to see some crazy bastard tell Judge Judy to f**k off and then, in a psychotic fit of rage, approach the bench and pull a kitten from their jacket pocket and chop its head off.  Then, urinate all over the bench and rip the witness stand microphone from the podium, beating the plaintiff and camera man senseless.  I'll bet the ratings would skyrocket.

Eric: If they could just take the guests from Jerry Springer & put them on the court shows, they'd have network gold.

Not only would it make for good tv, it would provide much needed chlorine for the gene pool.  If science won't give us zombies, we'll have to thin the herd on our own. A good start would be using reality tv stars in gladiator matches.

Jim: Please God...tell me that we will begin with Snookie, Donald Trump and the Kardashians!

Eric: That's main event type stuff. You have to build up to it with teasers throughout the season.  You gotta keep a business sense about you with these sort of things.

Jim: Brilliant! How u are not a network exec is beyond me.  As for me, I know why Im not a network exec. A former broadcast program director said that it had something to do with my lack of personal direction, focus and goals. I believe he also said something about me not bringing anything to the table.  Of course I also believe that he was recently fired and now works at a grocery store.

Hey...while I'm thinking about it, how in Hell is it ok for a girlfriend to wake you up from a sound, deep sleep, wanting sex, but if I try that, they groan and say they're sleepy and then roll over and begin snoring? One of my female co-workers informs me that women want it on their own terms...My theory is that God hates me.

Eric: My theory is that you don't hit them hard enough to make them sleep longer.

Jim: Isn't that illegal? 

Eric: Not in West Virginia.  You should consider moving.

Jim: Good point. Btw...Did your sushi ever arrive?

Eric: Surprisingly, yes, and that's the last time I order from that place.

1: When I called, the dingbat who answered the phone says I called the wrong location & gives me another number to call.

2: When I call the other number they told me I called the wrong location & gave me the number for the previous location.

3: When I called back, the original dingbat took my order, then hung up. However, she probably should have gotten my address number etc so it could be delivered.

4: the delivery guy calls me from outside & wants me to meet him at the corner to get my food. I ordered sushi, not cocaine. Quit being shady!

5: It was delicious, so who knows? Maybe I'll give them a 2nd chance.

Jim: Who knew that the Asians had such a wacky sense of humor? You should have told him that he delivered the sushi to the wrong porno store location.

Eric: We only have one location, so that wouldn't work.

Jim: ONE location?  Sounds like your company owner is a loser.  At any rate, if it were me, I would have just robbed the delivery guy.

Eric: BTW, the sushi restaurant people from where I ordered aren't Asian. In the future, I'm sticking with the authentic places. At least if they mess up I can blame it on the language barrier.

Jim: Aside from a hint of xenophobia, as evidenced in your previous text...What??? Is there some sort of affirmative action policy at sushi restaurants that I'm missing? That's like staffing a taco stand with Pakistanis.

Eric: The northeastern part of the country is diverse. You southern folks need to get with the times. We share water fountains & everything up here.

Jim: Its important to note that I do not stereotype.  I, of course, would also never suggest that Pakistanis are not qualified to prepare a delicious taco now that I think about it. However, who would be left to drive the cabs or run convenience stores?

Eric: Up here, Nigerians & Kenyans drive the cabs & run the shops.

Jim: My doc is a hot Asian woman. I have a lot of fun with she and her staff when I visit.  She regularly diagnoses me with a character flaw however.  I'm not sure how to take that.

Eric: Tell her ya got a bone injury that you'd like her to tend to.

Jim: I remember what I texted you's your first guest column coming along? 

Eric: I was hoping to bullsh*t my way through it & just use some old stand up material & hope nobody notices that I mailed it in. Speaking of which, I have a show tomorrow in Delaware; home of tax-free shopping & meth.

Jim: Excellent; at least you may purchase meth after the show, tax free...of course you will probably be involved in a drive-by shooting. 

Eric: I don't wanna get you in trouble with Mike...just tell him or do whatever you usually do as an excuse for a slightly overdue deadline.

Jim:  Will do.  I'll have my friend Bob email him and tell him that you've been involved in a car accident and are on life support. 

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2012

Editor's Note: Follow Eric's insane ramblings or hook up with him at  By "hook-up" we'll leave the definition to the parameters of your personal comfort level